Google recently revealed that the Federal Trade Commission was intensely reviewing the search giant’s recent $750 million acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob. Last week, Google said the FTC has made a second request for further information about the deal. Today, two consumer groups, Consumer Watchdog and the Center For Digital Democracy, have asked the FTC to block the deal on anti-trust grounds and possible privacy issues. (Click here to view the letter.)
In a joint letter to the FTC (embedded below), the two groups say that Google’s acquisition of AdMob would lessen competition in the mobile advertising market, having a potentially negative impact on consumers, advertisers and application developers and others. AdMob is the leader in the mobile advertising space, which is chock full of competitors, including Greystripe and others. We’ve all been speculating on what the impact of a Google-backed AdMob would have on the rest of its competitors, and the mobile advertising market in general.
The letter also raises concerns about consumer privacy. The groups claim that both AdMob and Google have access to large amounts of data relating to consumer behavior, including their location. It’s important to note that consumer groups typically make these sorts of complaints during antitrust reviews because it’s when these groups have the most leverage and the ears of regulators.
Google has high ambitions for AdMob, which was one of Google’s largest acquisitions since it bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in 2008. The rise of mobile advertising attracted Google to this space and with the acquisition of AdMob, the search giant could indeed dominate a growing space. AdMob, which some say is approaching a $100 million business within the next three years, could be an extremely profitable channel, especially when the platform is plugged into AdWords and DoubleClick.